Convenience is king in our world of modern amenities and timesavers. Consumers are willing to pay more to save valuable time in this fast-paced world where we are pulled in so many directions. Convenience, however, is also causing unnecessary waste going to the George Town Landfill.
While it can seem daunting to make changes in our routines initially or feel like we are adding yet another thing to our ever-looming to-do list, we can reimagine our world of disposable bags, bottled water, apple sauce pouches and To-Go Containers without compromising convenience.
An average consumer produces 4 pieces of packaging with a disposable lunch. That’s 4 individual wrappers, possibly from a sandwich container, soup, chip bag, beverage etc. That might not sound like a lot, but that equates to 1,000 pieces of solid waste per year that end up in our landfill/ To put that into perspective, that is 67 LB of waste per year. If 50 individuals in your office produce this amount of waste, that is a total of 3,350 LB of waste in a year or the equivalent of 2 cars! So what can we do about it? Consider committing to packing litterless lunches by using reusable containers, resealable beeswax wraps, mason jars and snack pouches.
A benefit of litterless lunches is that they are often healthier because you naturally steer clear of pre-packaged foods which generally lack nutritional value and increase your fruit and veggie intake. Bento Box containers have multiple compartments which allow you to fill them with a variety of portion sizes. It may even spark some inner creativity as you dream up your next flavour combinations.
What about your daily granola bar or other packaged favourite? Try making them yourself in bulk and put them in the freezer. When you pack it for lunch, it will have thawed out. Freezing foods like granola bars, muffins, crackers and cookies will avoid them spoiling and generating food waste. There are so many delicious easy to follow recipes online.
Investing in various reusable products for packing lunch will make the process more enjoyable and natural; you will be less tempted to reach for or purchase disposable wraps, sandwich bags and bottled beverages.
If you’re unable to pack lunch every day, consider scheduling a few days a week where you dine in a restaurant instead of grabbing take-out. This will reduce packaging and get you out of the office to clear your head for a few minutes. Bring a book, grab a friend and relax.
Recycling is a wonderful way to reduce items going to the landfill, but a lot of food packaging cannot be recycled, and recycling requires energy. Truly the best option is to reduce our consumption and waste output. When we become more conscious of our poor habits and adopt sustainable ones, those small changes make a significant impact.